an architectural tragedy
I am sad like an orphan, I am sad
like expired milk.
the greatest of distances, dotted lines
of latitude, the lengths Ive promised
Id go, cannot always
somewhere in between the waiting,
spanning time like noise in the branches,
the thickets dead stare, I sink down and into
a reality of curdled disease.
Ive shared space and air and sighs
with those too close for comfort; a
warm chair, dry-heave tag-teams
racing for the sink, an erect palm
waving a pride that should be mine.
Ive had all the time in the world
to waste on mistakes. with make-shift
memories, Ive built my own bridges
from bed to bed to bed, rising above
my sour shadow, their
telltale invitations to gape
I am empty like the sky, I am sad
like sutured skin.
Ive tried to build a bridge of love
alone, but its overgrown
and not strong enough to close
this widening hole.
the living and the deadI lie on the floor, I cannot bearthe living and the dead6 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
the bed, the sheets, so sweet smelling
soft. I lie on the floor like it is the deck of a ship
before a storm.
the things I used to tell you
no one knows,
the nightmares followed us home, but I like
to think you have learned the secret -
where to begin the forgetting. I
put you in a room like a moth
in a jar, listen for your last breath, open
the door, but you are gone
the scent of burning
hair, the animal fear, the way your
knees brush each other like leaves,
I lie on the floor, my hipbone falling
between beams, dirty laundry under my cheek,
I fall asleep watching the rise and fall
of my bed.
MotherAs you sweat over petunias,Mother6 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
I watch shadows
pour from chlorophyll branches.
when delphiniums bloom,
on your roses.
You tramp with shovels, rakes,
And garden hoes,
dancing in lime green galoshes,
to the passing tempo of July.
All while my minutes bunch
at the windowsill,
a half-done row of knitting
cast aside. I recollect my thread and leave
to forage for dinner in the kitchen.
To the VysehradTo the Vyehrad, Prague (May 13th, 2008)To the Vysehrad6 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
I left a sliver of myself adrift on the Vltava,
the mother river. Not a piece of my heart, no-
nothing so yielding or moveable as that.
A curve of rib perhaps, or the third digit
of my left little finger, the largest vertebrae
or the deep roots of my wisdom teeth.
I shed a bone-it slipped out from beneath
my skin in the late afternoon,
when the sun on the new, smooth headstones
covered my eyes with blindfolds
white and gold; it fell
into the foreign trailing arbutus
without a sound.
When the rain came, later, it rolled
with the black grave garden dirt
into the river and settled, cleaned
and smoothed by the stones at the bottom.
I was already in a different country,
so I didn't feel it then.
And the color of scoured bones
is like good marble, so who can blame them
for drawing that piece of me from the water, thinking
it had slid from a statue, or a church, or a castle,
or the white columns of the St. Wenceslas vineyard?
There was a hi
The Breath of GodI.The Breath of God8 years ago in Other More Like This
My bones have been like cabinets;
the hinges all dust, wood punctured.
Breathe, hope, stamina (the grains wheat enough to take on
absence, sweat, and nausea) were misplaced.
Their dearth rearranged my skeleton in certain places,
and I stuck out heresunk in there.
The nonexistence was pushy
bored with the fractures,
ignorant of setting the bone.
I was ignorant of setting the bone, too.
Mirrors were poor reflections,
wasted glass, unable to diagnose.
I was intact. It appeared
that way. The angles spoke of it
they expressed the wholeness of body. Sure they did.
It spoke of other images, too, the one image, mine
like silverware sticking out of me obnoxiously,
unkempt and gray and sharp, with no regard for
But I was still fleshstill, I had
eleven ribs, eight fingers, two kneecaps.
And my marrow
had air pockets.
Never Give Love a NameNever Give Love a NameNever Give Love a Name7 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
the Chachapoyas did not call
themselves the Chachapoyas
this name an invention
by the Incas the history
of the Chachapoyas recorded
in ruins fragments
of bowls tombs
tucked in mountain cliffs
breath caught in the throat
erodes the lungs scratches
against the empty caves
left by the ribs the broken
bowl of a shoulder blade
twisted bridge of the neck
that can no longer be crossed
ridges of the spine
a chipped necklace
memories of a kiss embalmed tucked
in the folds of an ear
now there is only this
Ghoststumbled beamsGhosts6 years ago in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
an owl calls
A Way to ForgetI was seeking aimlesslyA Way to Forget5 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
through the jars of my life.
I found them in a dream,
these great, magic urns,
one containing butter, one, milk
others filled with grains or brass or gold.
I was looking for the lids, in order to cover them up
but i could not find even one.
Sometimes, I would spill a little and
sometimes, I would return from elsewhere
to find them empty
This caused me a great deal of anxious sadness
just sitting there, looking into the empty containers
that once held my life
I woke up some time later and checked the clock
I had not had a drink in several hours.
I needed a drink.
I got up and
produced shirt, pants, keys and shoes.
In the car, I shifted to reverse and then to "D"
drove down to the local bar.
Dream dream Dream
My feet slide over the flooring.
The light addresses my eyes.
It's a quiet night, Tuesday, and
the bartender has the beer and shot set down
before i get there;
I slide a ten across with my wrist
and get the shot in
Beyond Absolution: ProloguePrologue: Sweet Raptured LightBeyond Absolution: Prologue7 years ago in General Fiction More Like This
I broke the surface of consciousness like a drowning man. Gasping thin breaths, I strained for air against the angry band of pain that crushed my throat to the width of a narrow reed. My fingers felt as thick as sausages as I dug them into the rope. A weak, phlegmy cough rasped air painfully past my throat, dragging me back towards unconsciousness as the pain threatened to spill over.
Im dying, screamed the wild part of my brain. Im dying Im dying Im dying Im dying!
Darkness blurred the corners of my eyes; coughs wracked my body, doubled me over on the floorboards. My pale, snatched breaths werent enough to save me; they just prolonged the inevitable, kept me conscious as I scrabbled about my neck, tugging desperately at the rope that cut into me like fire. A heavy knot was tied at the base of my skull. With my last reserves of
things i have buriedbatches of badly folded letters from my grandmother'sthings i have buried6 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
apartment, all tightly scrawled russian, smudged ink.
the luna moth my brother caught when i was seven,
its wings becoming a chartreuse stain on his palms.
the mark of every song that has ever made me feel,
each differently shaped and stitched together
to form the patchwork of resilience that is my heart.
sepia photographs, antiquated polaroids,
with nothing written in the white spaces
where stories of moments should be.
narrow granada streets, their uneven cobblestones
turned hazy with august's heavy heat;
the familiar taste of tears etched into frown lines
that i am too young to already have.
mertha.i like to seperate my thoughts into names, to keep them in order.mertha.6 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
my lonliness is named mertha, and she'd like to meet you.
mertha sits by me on my bed and we draw pictures of tulips and snails and wonder when that math test was. she takes my hand and grips it slowly, while singing that song my mother use to sing when i was 4.
(and i wonder exactly how she knew the words.)
mertha walks with me in the rain and understands that i don't like to be asked questions in the morning. sometimes when i'm sitting in the bathtub with no running water she won't leave me alone, and mertha knows that she is unwelcome.
(but she stays because she knows i'll come back to her)
she hangs over my head when i'm getting dressed in the morning. mertha pulls on my flabby skin and reminds me t
out of Gardenwhat seaout of Garden7 years ago in Open More Like This
how it is welling your eyes a wet mess
where urchins of the ocean will spill to howl their elegy
where mermaids will turn widows
once brine has swallowed whole their sailor babes
stewarding the land instead
is why i never set sail with you
but to lay in gardens, oh
a bed sheet rotten by the ultraviolet
and our laps full of stars
what black soil will pervert your knees there
where moonlight will mirror out from your teeth
to run fanatic toward cosmic space
after bathing in the space among us
where walking air pushes every dust
one of sun-dried butterflies
one of beaten rug with broom
one of honey bees minus harvest
one from sands of human crust
when traced is an orb monster, Jupiter
around your left breast, so that nipple
a blood storm just under the skin
and asking where you sowed the marigolds
is only to hear you choke the words time and water
in the same sentence
to hear you say there will be no rain for a week
while an ocean is
NumbersNumbersNumbers7 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
I could not stop seeing
parallels between words
and human flesh.
A poem that could rise up,
hunching its back, a
concentration camp victim
with bare ribs; this
language rolls like the ridges
and dips of a spine, sticking
up through paper skin.
And theyre using the peaks
as an abacus, counting them
as they die.
and we found...we love like we sin, terrified and breathless.and we found...6 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
we are tea-at-midnight girls, naming constellations
that don't exist after lost tourists we meet on the
street, reminding our freckle covered shoulders
that even beautiful things can be made ordinary.
we are broken fingers and half-closed eyelids and a
penchant for mischief. we are ribbon skin and frantic
desires and incandescent hope. we are a voice spilling
secrets to falling leaves diving after their arachnid brothers,
mimicking the millions before us who were
judged unfairly, unjustly but all too correctly.
we whisper promises to dandelions because they do not
know how to hold grudges and we refuse to die because
the world can not stand the sight of our scars and
cloud-colored eyes filled with a malady called freedom.
we are believers and dreamers and scared to death but we
are not done yet. we are dusty library windows and thunder
raking through bones and leaving eyes glowing, skin shaking,
burning whispers of 'I'm sorry, but this is
Resurrecting SylviaResurrecting Sylvia6 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
And like the cat I have nine times to die.
This is Number Three.
What a trash
To annihilate each decade.
Even amidst fierce flames
The golden lotus can be planted,
So let the mystified crowds begin amassing!
Again she will rise like a climbing rose,
Lady Lazarus, lifted from soil, decomposed
But lifted, living, sepulcher sprung; she cries-
I have risen again, once in every ten!
Thrusting upon the crowd a demure smile,
Reminding them with coy cast of amber eye:
And like a cat I have nine times to die.
Blame not her tempest-mind for the tragedy,
For amidst those flames of madness and insecurity
Her grave-bloom yet sprouts its mystery-
Her verse, a curse: a blue flame filament
Unfurled from the nadir, a testament
Suckled on the siren song of Lorelei.
From the great beneath she claims: I will rise
Yet again, to bid you recant and to reclaim
A lyrical promise penned in misery:
This is only number three.
So amass, friends, 'round the funerary shroud
churchlord you spun me outchurch7 years ago in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
of morning rays and mexican
china, out of paper elephants
and camomile flowers. you took
and ears away from a deaf
mute and gave them to me
so i could hear the others
say speak the word of jesus
wide-eyed like children, so that
i could say my name is emily,
my name is emily but i can't
lord you gave me green
whisky when all i needed
was a glass of water in
the middle of the
night and arms instead
of a parting knife.
you wrote me a poem and
put it inside me and
the words smelled like sex
and tea leaves, carrot-flowers that
will emerge from the dirt
smiling and all alone.
lord you plucked a boy
out of a tree and told him
to love me with his eyes
shut, but in the end it
was me who was too
blind. you gave me a sad
mouth and brown
lord when you stopped
listening i threw away my
faith like pregnancy tests
and birth control. you stopped
listening and i counted the
colours in my bedroom, yellow-
grey-yellow. i sobbe
On DisappointmentI.On Disappointment6 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Out on the porch, my mother sat in an Adirondack chair, smoking
her first cigarette in ten years. The air was hazy and discolored.
Her wedding ring spun on the table, gathering fallen ashes.
I was on the floor, knees tucked up under my chin, poking sticks
down the cracks. She spoke of lies and imagined bliss.
She tucked her hair behind her ear and sighed.
I listened as my mother explained the complexity of love.
Last night he drove just over the state border. I sat in the car,
feet up on the dashboard, singing with the radio. He looked at me
like he had a secret. He was the sage and I was the fool.
So there we were, lying together on the moth-eaten bed of some sleazy motel,
naked and not touching. The drink machine hummed outside, the gnats
gathered toward the flickering light.
And I know that I was warned, still it was not what I hoped.
Waltzing with the DevilIn a house, apartment, in a palace pulsingWaltzing with the Devil6 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
away from that idle pressure on my nape,
I possess minds which are courtesans: my cured
extremities are waltzing with the devil.
You might think of a sentient rhythm, a drone
sashaying in a cruel intercourse
wearing Venetian masks in mockery of
those gods compelled to eat burgers after caviar:
I love it when your china is spread on toast.
A thought would hover, a buzzing tinnitus
reminds you of a kindly perverted uncle
flagging down a platonic boy, blindfolded
by a riddle of locusts: come Abaddon
in a pitch of flies smothered by Beelzebub.
You would think I am the illegitimate
by-product of lazy rituals, couples
idling on the fence with hanging genitals
watching a pornographic film: during the
day I am Asmodai, a braying lust held
in a choke-hold at night when dutifully
I pray for the deliverance of daylight
ushered by the roaring birth of Lucifer.
because i love youbecause i love you) i want to learnbecause i love you6 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
your ins and outs and the spaces
the Morse code of caffeinated palpitations
of your heartbeat against your (ribcage)
the dreams you forget in the morning
the thoughts you think when you see
you&me standing in the mirror [framed
like a parallel universe picture]
whether or not you believe in a soul
ten thousand ways to make a smile
crack across your face
(i want this
Born AfarWe would beBorn Afar7 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Matter of fact.
I'd turn into Penelope.
Pen-e-lope, like cantelope;
she was ripe, over ripe perhaps,
withered with the waiting years,
Penny parched from rolling tears-
enough to swim him home.
If he was water you are stone.
Sandstone. Solid. Something -
young boys need to cling to, something -
a bow to fit the string to, something.
That's not me but it's something.
You would be
weighted and one.
Entirely a second son,
a second son and quite undone,
Stay. Smile upon my
wasted weaving fingertips,
shun your father's treasure ship
and hold me close, alone.
Five's a CrowdA Saskatoon year is not symmetrical:Five's a Crowd6 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
it has five seasons
stumbling into one another
toasting timeless acquaintance
is grey and tan
a folded old woman
a stalk of straw in her gravel teeth.
Limping, smiling and wet
from between Winters supermodel thighs
she stains white legs
damp cigarette butts and chokecherries
knotted in her grove of hair.
Yet we smile
we only feel
her forehead warmth
her wrinkle-dust like talc
she unbends her back
to reach behind us
and breaks the hour-hand
suggests she stay.
Her cracked lips like sidewalks
crusted folds of her face
cold fingers up our backs
are nothing like Spring
stained grassI used to wonder about the grass and how it clung to your clothes, marking them green with envy. It left a quiet trace of something so alive on the shell of someone who had forgotten how to be a part of the living. The grass, like clay, would mold around your body, only the imprint of a boy remaining. It would keep that way for days and I often question whether that was Mother Nature's way of giving you a place to call home; a place you could slip into and hide away.stained grass6 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
I asked you if I could hold your hand while you waged wars with the hole in your heart, the deep pocket that would never be filled. You held on as long as you could, keeping me up on nights I really should have been sleeping, and I clung to every piece of you my fingers could carry. I knew I should let you fold yourself into the pocket of your heart, but I always thought I could find a place in mine. I had enough room, but you just wouldn't fit comfortably, like the chair we tried fitting in the trunk of the car
Angel's GamesThey say that this city was made by Angels, and sometimes I am almost inclined to agree.Angel's Games6 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
The graveyard is filled with them, weeping stone tears from blank eyes, hands spread wide in supplication, or clasped in grief. They fill this city. Watching from rooftops and doorways. Clinging to the corners of old buildings or sitting silent in hidden courtyards, guarding the ruined tumbles of houses no-one ever bothered to rebuild.
Stone angels watching over a city of dust and ashes. Choked with the burning of a thousand fires, the soot still clinging to the church-towers that ring out with the mournful pealing of bells.
Many wars have passed through this place, and I have no doubt there are many more to come. I have seen my fair share of sorrow here. I have watched as piece by piece the city is rebuilt, the wreckage gathered, the wound mended. Its people are as old and dark as the place itself. Distrustful, generous, proud, a mess of contradictions, and yet you find yourself expecting nothing
In MemoriamAfter: I set on the walk to home,In Memoriam6 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
By woodland paths; I paced, I paced
But then as the cloak of dark came down,
I nearing my old town- was not braced
For that image of moths, flickering blue-
I stumbled there; reminded of you.
So I spun on my heels in evening gloam,
By autumn leaves I raced, I raced
Away from the moments that rendered in silver,
Cast glamour on the forest face
And stabbed through the shimmer of early dew-
I could have died there, surrounded by you.